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* Tourism, leisure stocks lead rally in Australia, NZ
* Energy stocks jump after oil prices soar over 8%
* Gold stocks plunge as investors dump safe-haven assets
Nov 10 (Reuters) - Stock markets in Australia and New Zealand jumped more than 2% on Tuesday, joining a global rally in equities overnight as investor risk appetite was boosted by promising developments toward a coronavirus vaccine.
The Australian benchmark index hit its highest level since March 5, led by gains for travel, leisure and energy firms, while gold-related stocks plunged as investors dumped the safe-haven bullion in favour of riskier assets.
Global markets rallied sharply, with Wall Street’s main indexes hitting record highs, after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said data from a large-scale trial of their vaccine showed it was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.
“Even with widespread distribution still months away the announcement effect will provide a consumer and business sentiment boost to be sure,” RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note.
“Whether people want to call that a ‘V’ recovery or not is, at this point, inconsequential – it is materially faster than most anyone appreciated,” they said.
Travel firms Flight Centre Travel Group, Sydney Airport Holdings and Qantas Airways Ltd soared more than 10% each on the news.
Energy stocks, which have been among the worst affected by the coronavirus-related hit to demand, climbed over 8% as crude prices surged.
Australia’s top independent gas producer Woodside Petroleum Ltd gained 8% while Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search surged 21%.
Real estate firms Scentre Group, GPT Group and Dexus gained between 8% and 15%.
Gold stocks, however, slumped more than 7% in their worst session since May 27, following a steep fall in bullion prices.
Miners Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd, Northern Star Resources Ltd and Evolution Mining were among the top percentage losers on the benchmark.
Tech shares fell 4%, dragged lower by a 6% decline in buy-now-pay-later heavyweight Afterpay Ltd, which has soared so far this year due to increased online payment transactions during the pandemic.
Glove maker Ansell Ltd, which had benefited from a steep hike in demand this year, was on track for its worst day since March 31.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose as much as 2.2% to hit a fresh peak.
Vista Group International, which develops software for the film industry, soared 20%, while carrier Air New Zealand jumped 15%. (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)
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